Did You Know?

Seven men and no women have been

executed in the United States in 2017.

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of April 23-29, 2017, is 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.  Paul is once again writing to the Corinthians, with whom he was experiencing a strained relationship at the time.  The Corinthians were upset that Paul had not visited them as he said he would.  This letter, in part, explained his actions.  Paul did not want to visit with them when his visit would not bring joy, but rather suffering.

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement), Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God.  For just as Christ’s [own] sufferings fall to our lot [as they overflow upon His disciples, and we share and experience them] abundantly, so through Christ comfort (consolation and encouragement) is also [shared and experienced] abundantly by us.  (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, AMP)

 

Paul’s writing here is to encourage the Corinthians during this trying time.  They are not alone in their feelings.  Paul feels them and understands them too, but more importantly, so does the Lord!  We are never alone when going through a difficult time.  Jesus Christ, as a man, suffered all that we could possibly suffer and more!  He is always there with us.  He also wants to be there with us during a times of joy.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, evaluate your actions during times of struggle and times of joy.  Do you invite the Lord to share in them with you?

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of April 16-22, 2017, is 1 Samuel 30:1-6.  In this week’s passage we see the consequences of what happens when do not follow the Lord’s instructions.  Our failure to obey the Lord can have disastrous consequences not only for ourselves, but also for others.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider how your actions may affect the lives of others.

 

Now when David and his men came home to Ziklag on the third day, they found that the Amalekites had made a raid on the South (the Negeb) and on Ziklag, and had struck Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken the women and all who were there, both great and small, captive. They killed no one, but carried them off and went on their way.  So David and his men came to the town, and behold, it was burned, and their wives and sons and daughters were taken captive.  Then David and the men with him lifted up their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.  David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.  David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.  (1 Samuel 30:1-6, AMP)

 

The disaster that befell David, his men, and their families was not one of their own making.  In 1 Samuel 15:3, King Saul was instructed to kill all the Amalekites, “man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”  (ESV)  Saul did not obey these instructions, allowing his men to plunder and keep the best of the best.  He also failed to kill all of the Amlekites.  As punishment, the Lord rejected Saul as king over Israel, but the story does not end there!  As we see in this week’s passage, Saul failure to obey caused the pain and suffering of many more, years afterwards. 

 

Our failure to obey may not always result in immediate punishment.  We may not always see the result of our failure.  But like David and his men, we may cause others to suffer by doing what we believe best, instead of following the guidance of the Lord.  Have your actions hurt others?  How can you atone for your mistakes?

The Bible passage for mediation, prayer, and reflection, for the week of April 9-15, 2017, is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.  This passage is familiar to nearly everyone.  It is frequently read at weddings, vow renewals, and marriage celebrations.  On April 16, 2015, we will celebrate Resurrection Sunday, Easter.  It is the day that we celebrate Jesus’ defeat of death, and our salvation.  As you read this passage, remember the pain and torture that was inflicted on our Savior.  Remember His suffering.  Remember His willingness to die.

 

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].  Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, AMP)

  

Why?  Why would Jesus, the perfect, sinless man, be willing to put Himself through such torture, such pain, such suffering for people who will never stop sinning?  The answer is found in this week’s passage: Love.  He loves you beyond anything you can imagine.  His love for you is perfect.  Because of His love for you, He was willing to endure the pain, the torture, the suffering.  Because of His love for you, He is willing show you patience, to forgive you time and again.  His love for you will endure, no matter your actions.  As you mediate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, take heart and rejoice!  Jesus Loves You!

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of April 2-8, 2017, is Psalm 40:1-3.  This psalm, like so many, was written by David.  Many scholars believe that David wrote this psalm while he was on the run from his son, Absalom, who sought to overthrow David.

 

I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He drew me up out of a horrible pit [a pit of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay (froth and slime), and set my feet upon a rock, steadying my steps and establishing my goings.

And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many shall see and fear (revere and worship) and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord.  (Psalm 40:1-3, AMP)

 

Has there been a time in your life, perhaps recently, when you felt like David?  Stuck in a pit of despair?  Perhaps things were not going smoothly at work.  Perhaps you were struggling with a personal issue.  Perhaps you were struggling spiritually.  Perhaps you still are.  God does not operate on our timetable.  Sometimes we must be patient and wait for His timing, for His response.  He is using our time of trouble to teach us a lesson and make us stronger.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse consider your attitude during times of difficulty.  Continue to pray and have faith in the Lord.  He has heard you!

The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of March 26-April 1, 2017, is Jeremiah 1:4-10.  This passage records Jeremiah’s calling by the Lord.  As you read this week’s passage, study Jeremiah’s reaction to his calling.  Have you ever acted in a similar manner?

 

Then the word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah], saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  Then said I, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth.”  But the Lord said to me, “Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.  Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.  See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”  (Jeremiah 1:4-10, AMP)

 

Jeremiah’s reaction is one shared by many prophets and individuals whom the Lord has called into His service: believing they are unfit to serve.  Moses was scared of public speaking.  Joshua needed frequent assurance and encouragement.  Saul, after prophesying with prophets, felt unqualified and inadequate and attempted to hide!  Solomon sought wisdom above all else, perhaps feeling he was too young to become king.  Do you feel inadequate, unqualified, unsure, and/or scared for the purpose the Lord has called you?  Take comfort!  You are in good company.

  

God has called us all to serve Him in some manner.  Very few approach the task with no reservations.  As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this weeks verse, consider what task the Lord has set before you.  What excuse are you using to evade serving?    

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